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FORMERLY CHAPLAIN TO THE KING OF SPAIN, IN THE ROYAL CHAPRL
If any Profit should arise from the sale of this Work, they are to be given to the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
PRINTED FOR C. & J. RIVINGTON,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD,
AND WATERLOO-PLACE, PALL-MALL.
WHOEVER you may be who hap. pen to take up this book, if you belong to that numerous and respectable class who cannot afford to employ a great part of their time in reading, and have not the means of buying but very cheap worksit is for you that I have written the one which you now hold in your
Who I am, I will tell you presently, for I mean, by your favour, to hold a pretty long conversation with you; but let me speak first about this little book. I wrote, a few months ago, a work on the Roman Catholic Religion, which, as I hear from the booksellers, has had a good sale among the rich. I might, indeed, rest' satisfied with this success, if, even at the time when I was working hard with my pen, a whisper within had not said to me—“Are you sure that the prospect of gain or praise is not the real cause of all this labour ?" “ I am well aware (said I) that the heart is deceitful above all things *, and that, sure as I feel of the purity of my motives, yet something may be wrong in them. I will, however, with God's blessing, if this book should be well received, write another for the
poor. I will give it away to be printed for them, at the cheapest rate, and will make no profit at all by it. I will take care, besides, that it contain, in a small compass, more than my work for the higher classes and it shall be written in a manner that will require no learning to be well understood.”—My book, as I have told you already, was published, and the great people were pleased to say that I had proved my point. Then letters came to me from some very worthy gentlemen, urging me to print a cheaper edition of my work, that it might be within the power of the poor to buy it. I was thank, ful indeed, for this piece of advice ; but my mind had been previously made up
* Jeremiah xvii. 9.
to go beyond it. It cheered me up, however, and I immediately set about composing this little work on purpose for you.
But when I took up the pen I was very undecided as to the manner which would best afford you both instruction and entertainment. After casting many schemes in my mind, it appeared to me, that by imagining myself sitting by your side, and entering into a conversation upon the subject which I propose to treat, I should make the reading of this book less tiresome, than if I wrote it in the usual way, and had all the talk to myself, in set chapters. I mean, therefore, to give you a share